Japan Foreign Ministry European Affairs Chief Meets with Russian Counterpart; Discusses Moscow Ties with Pyongyang

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Foreign Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

Masashi Nakagome, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s European Affairs Bureau, visited the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Friday and held a meeting with Lyudmila Vorobyova, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Third Asian Department, who oversees relations with Japan, according to the Japanese Embassy in Moscow.

Nakagome expressed concerns about the agreement to enhance military cooperation which Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed upon with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

In speaking about Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Nakagome said it is “a clear violation of international laws” and reiterated Japan’s demand that Russia immediately stop its aggression.

Concerning the issue of the northern territories, Nakagome also demanded that Russia immediately resume bilateral affairs, which have been suspended since the start of Russia’s aggression.

The issues include access by former residents to the northern territories for visits to family graves and the “safe operations” of Japanese fishing boats around four islands of the territories.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced it held brief talks with the Japanese side on Japan’s request.

The Russian ministry said that it absolutely cannot approve of Japan’s protest about the “comprehensive strategic partnership treaty,” which Russia and North Korea signed.

According to the ministry, Vorobyova also said, “Because of hostile policies of the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the relationship between Russia and Japan has worsened to an unprecedented degree.”